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What to Expect When Switching to Biologic Drugs for RA Treatment


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One kind of medication your doctor might prescribe for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are Biologic drugs. These drugs may help reduce your risk of joint damage and relieve your symptoms, but there is a change that these biologic drugs may potentially cause some dangerous side effects. You can learn what to expect from taking biologic drugs from here.


How will the drugs be administered?

There are several types of biologic drugs that can be applied for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. There are some that are administered intravenously while many others are administered as pills.

There are some cases where you will be required to either visit your doctor’s office, a clinic, or hospital to get the intravenous type administered. The infusion of the intravenous kind of treatment may take a few hours to complete, and during the process, there will be some medical personals to watch you for possible signs of an adverse reaction.

Some doctors may advise rust you take an antihistamine or some other kind of medication before the intravenous administration of biologic drugs to help reduce your chances of having an adverse reaction.

If you are not one who loves to visit the hospital regularly, your doctor may decide to prescribe a biologic medication that you can easily inject on your own. There are several types of biologic drugs that are available in auto-injectors that are very easy to use. Your doctor may provide you with pre-filled syringes if your insurance plans don’t cover for the auto-injectors.

Another useful alternative is that you might receive empty syringes and some vials of medications. For this on how to use the auto-injectors for your prescription, ask your doctor of any other reliable health worker. Additional information on your dosages and recommended schedule will be provided by your doctor.

How long does it take for the effect to kick in?

If the biologic drugs prescribed for you work as intended, it should help to stop the condition from getting worse, reduce inflammation, and even reduce symptoms like joint pain.

The amount of doses you may be required to take before finally noticing significant effects or improvement in your condition depends mainly on the kind of biologic drug prescribed for you. There are cases where it may take many months for you to experience a significant effect. It is OK for you to ask your doctor how long it’ll take for your prescription medication to provide you with some relief.

If your symptoms do not improve after the period your doctor lets you wait for, then make sure to return to your doctor and lay your complaint. The different types of biological drugs available are designed to target a different part of the immune system.

However, it is unfortunate that there is no way to know beforehand whether certain biological drugs will work well for you or not. If your doctor prescribed a medication for you and it different work, he will most likely prescribe a different one for you.


What are the potential side effects of taking a biological drug?

One thing you should know about biological drugs for RA is that they suppress your immune system and that increases your chances of infection.

Depending on the prescribed biologic drugs you have been taking, you may notice that the drug cause;

  • A false result of blood glucose reading
  • Raise your odds of developing some particular diseases such as some kinds of cancer.
  • Trigger an injection site or infusion-related reaction.
  • Interact with other drugs, herbal products, and supplements.
  • Exacerbate symptom of a chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD).

If you notice any of the following symptoms within the first 24 hours of using the biologic drug, contact your coniferous country’s emergency service line:

  • Severe vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing

Consult your doctor if you begin to feel any of the following symptoms after taking your prescribed biologic drug.

  • Yellowing of skin or eyes
  • Scaly patches, itchiness, hives, sores on your skin, or rough patches
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Changes in the volume or appearance of your urine
  • Changes in your vision
  • A sudden change in appetite or weight
  • Discomfort or pressure when urinating
  • Tingling feeling, numbness, or weakness in your hands and feet
  • Signs of infection, such as chills, fever, fatigue, persistent cough, muscle aches, and sore throat.

Having mild injection sites reaction is common. You might develop redness, itching, swelling, or even pain around an injection site. However, you can relieve these symptoms by applying a cold compress, oral antihistamine, topical corticosteroids, or acetaminophen. Please call the doctor if your symptoms last longer than five days.

If you are pregnant or nursing, many of the available kinds of biologic drugs may not be safe for you so your doctor will be careful what he or she prescribes for you. If you have been taking any biologic medication said you get pregnant while still considering it, report to your doctor immediately you find out.

Before you undergo any surgery, take new medication or supplement, get a vaccination, or take a herbal mixture of drugs while still on biologic drug treatment, please report to your doctor.

What are the tests I may be required to do?

Your doctor will most likely ask that you undergo some tests, during, before, or, after treatment with a specific biologic drug. The result of the tests will help your doctor access and manage the risks of side effects. They will be able to find out you have a liver infection, high blood pressure, cancer, or congestive heart failure.

Your doctor may ask that you do any of the following tests

  1. Hepatitis-B virus screening
  2. Skin or blood tuberculosis test
  3. Complete blood count
  4. Liver enzymes or liver function test
  5. Lipid panel
  6. Blood pressure and blood glucose test
  7. Heart monitoring

Ask your doctor for the right tests you should take during, before, and after treatment with biologic drugs.


Taking the right kind of biologic drug will help you feel better in a matter of time by the key to getting the best-desired result from this form of treatment is to ask your doctor vital questions and pay close attention to changes in your body. This way you can quickly report any adverse side effect and get the right medical attention.

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